Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fullerton Open Gardens Part V- Casa Schindele

All successful people, men and women, are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward that distant vision, that goal or purpose. 
~ Brian Tracy

By staying within the original roof-line, the architectural design integrity thrived through multiple  future additions
Back in 1975, Dave and Vicki Shindele fell in love with one of a trio of modest ranch style homes in a rural Fullerton subdivision. The ranch style abode was surrounded by an acre of weeds. Almost all the usable property was out front.The lot on one side towered over theirs and pinned them in. Out back, just past a small paver on sand patio served as a conduit for rain to stream into the house, Just past the edge of the patio; the property dropped off precipitously to where two horses, pigs and a cow defined the previous owner's Green Acres inspired vision.

Dave and Vicki had a different vision. They saw past what was to what could be. 

The doors are always open. The retractable shade or fireplace fulfill the comfort of frequent family and guests with just the push of a button. 
The Schindele's dream was more gracious. At first sight, Dave and Vicki felt that this home was meant to be shared. For over 30 years, that thought guided every decision.

This is the story of finding what some would see as lump of coal and turning it into a Diamond. 

Little by little, one project at a time, their home and garden is a testament to the power a single idea can have when shepherded with consistency. 

By holding building materials to those reflective  of Southern California's heritage, which is heavily accented with Hispanic verve, 30 years of projects are as seamless as if done in a single renovation. 

Some of the artistic power rises from generous splashes of cobalt blue tile.  Vicki laughs at the suggestion that she should have a bumper sticker "I brake for Talavera."

In the beginning, the builder next door was happy to have the couple cart dirt over to their side of the property line.  Having the properties closer in elevation allowed for more spacious and usable areas. It was the start of creating the pleasant passage between destination points at the resort-like property. 

Padding protects the tree limb from chains the swing is hung from
Over time, the little ficus tree grew not large enough to shade their bedroom and hang a bench from branches. Noting that ficus roots can be invasive, Dave advises "Once the tree is established, withhold water so the roots have to go deep."

Design Trend: Ceramic birds decorating fountains

Leading back to the gazebo near where the original fruit trees and a raised vegetable patch now provide for the family, tile points the way in a pattern reminiscent of cross stitching.

Dave hand strung over 100 sets of lights throughout the property. Attractive and a safety wise.
 Raising three boys required the couple needed stay budget-wise. Dave and Vicki found thrifty ways to kick-start projects. Before the couple could afford masonry, some of the retaining wall pattern was slip-stitched of wood scrounged from cast-offs of a matchstick core manufacturer up the 57 Fwy in Pomona.

The difference between good and great gardens are if they beckon visitors to explore
Vicki tended baby jasmine, guiding their growing arms to encircle the patio posts.  She reflects the process is not as difficult as people suspect. The main tool required was patience.   She pruned and pinned twice a year until recently.  Now her gardener just follows the outline she trimmed so artfully. 

The fountain was designed by Vicki from tile picked up on their travels. 

Not rushing the vision into being allowed the couple to listen to the land. Part of the original ravine spoke to the couple of where a pool belonged. 

The flow between destinations within the garden has allowed for up to 180 guests to be comfortable at a sit-down dinner.
Looking back towards the main house, on the right is Dave and Vicki's favorite destination, their casita.  Open to the patio, with just Sunbrella curtains to close off inclement weather, here the couple can enjoy watching television or birds playing in the redwood trees. 

This is is a good place to end our visit, above the armillary garden. Here is where mangered animals once called home. The difference in what was and what is now is testament to the power of long-term vision guiding years of hard work powered by creative hearts.   
Until we meet again, thank you for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful.

All images on this post are by photographer Gene Sasse

More quotes on Vision at Brainy Quote

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fullerton Open Gardens 2013~ Part IV

The colorful Nana's Garden was cooked up from scratch. The only original ingredient from 2010: a bougainvillea.  What you see is joy- this is a garden perfect for grandchildren. Just past the tree, the gaggle of children- there is a turtle entertaining them. 

What you don't see are the underpinnings of efficiency in water and maintenance.  

What a delightful stroll to the back- the street curtained from view by trees.  Mulch carpets beneath colorful blossoms waving in the breeze to passing butterflies and hummingbirds.  

The color and texture of inlaid pavers offer firm footing dressed while intimating substance and significance beyond the years of the garden's existence. 

This is a small garden living large. Only 25' deep, the iron fence allows the owners to borrow the sky and the  view of the trail just on the other side. The sound of water coursing down the little fall and meandering stream entreats birds from the neighborhood to check out the burgeoning  plantings. 

A dozen koi entertain for their hand-fed dinner. 

Design note: Water features aren't accessories any more. They are expected wardrobe staples in a well-dressed garden. 

Mosquitoes in Southern California are petite compared to other parts of the nation, where the bulbous dive-bombers  are horrifyingly sized akin to finches.  I didn't know this until I was fortunate enough to visit the South: fans circulating on the patio deter mosquitoes from dining on the diners. 

All the greenery pinned so closely to the house and fence- the air is oh so gently refined when wafting from within  a corridor adorned in abundant shrubbery.

Fruiting flat against a trellis, these berries wait for birds to discover.  

Until next time, Thank your for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful.  

Friday, May 17, 2013

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (GBBD) May 2013

There is a world full of flowering gardens, but is mine where my hands work and my  heart rests.  GBBD is a punctuation mark in my work. It encourages me to look up before I move on. 

This hummingbirds is an ethereal guest

 There is nothing like watching the diminutive hummingbirds lick nectar from blossoms just inches away to feel as one with nature. 

Rosa 'Sexy Rexy' popping through lacy pyramids of Centranthus Ruber

While the 2012  edition of the Sunset Western Garden Book   recommends planting on the garden fringes where the floppy fronds add an air of rusticity , we rather enjoy where the different cultivars in our collection decided to snuggle with our roses up against the patio.  

Herd of Anna's hummingbirds roam my garden year round
Available now in white and shades of pink tinged both bright and purplish, the original roots clung to Mediterranean cliff-sides. Known also by the aliases  Red Valerian and   Jupiter's Beard, Centranthus Ruber was known in 16th century England as a blowzy 

The expanding food production patio is fronted by 'Our Land of Guadalupe Roses' and- Red Valerian.
In California, it is a hearty self- seeder. Wherever it travels: the hummingbirds follow.  

The seedlings didn't mind that this area is "under construction."  A rescued and refurbished pergola is awaiting a notch cut back in the hill to be brick-backed and replanted with an apple, blueberries and other quick-picks of nourishment. 

There is a direct correlation between the abundant species and plantings. 
While I live only 30 miles from the skyscrapers of downtown LA, ours is a country garden.  More concerned with welcoming wildlife than perfection.   

A curved-bill thrasher plays peek-a-boo 
2013 is turning into a spectacular year for bougainvillea.

Under the shade of the established tree and bench, the local squirrels like to take the last of the tangerines still clinging to the citrus. 

Uncommon as a year-round resident, spotted towhee enjoy the hospitality of the  bougainvillea allowed to grow a bit as a thicket. 

All the flowers from my garden do not go just to the birds.  Bowlfuls of roses and scented leaves are but a pluck away. 

Come back soon. We will return shortly to Fullerton Gardens, enjoy the spectacular homes and habitats of South Orange County and more. 

Until then, thank YOU for all you do to make the world more beautiful. 

Linking to Carol May's Garden Blogger's Bloom Day GBBD

and My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday 

Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Fullerton Beautiful's Open Gardens Tour ~ Part III

Welcome. This next garden teaches that work can be fun. Its all in the attitude. 

The Stanko garden is a shoe-in for the cheeriest side yard on Earth.  

There is so much to love about how designer- in- residence Phyllis Stanko strutted her credentials on what is usually humble potting bench. At its core this is a work area- but the ambiance shouts to the world that work here is as fun as a day at Disneyland. 

Writer Sara Bliss explains the  colorful and creative and  bench  in this June. 2012 Woman's Day "Organize It" column.  

Magazine writing is very focused, so let me take you beyond the gate to see if the backyard lives up to this pretty snazzy introduction. 

The answer is a resounding YES. 

My fellow garden tourists were buzzing around Phyllis, so I chatted with her properly proud husband, Mike. 

He explained that as a designer, his wife is trained to make the best utilization of every inch of space.  When they were ready to redo the backyard, they spent a year in planning and then went for the wow.   

The backyard was designed as an extension of their home.  A retaining wall was cut back to facilitate the oversize fireplace with the open sky lounging area.  

Design Note: Multiple umbrellas anchoring conversation areas are very popular. 

The grounds are very spa like, with lush plantings of tropical specimens of bird of paradise, Pygmy palms and roses carrying much of the work load.  One difference from any spa I've been to-  

Whimsy. The whimsical  village of bird houses and feeders is just opposite  the big bay window. Perfect for attracting children, birds- and hapiness. 

Complete with the Fullerton avian eatery The Ivy

You can follow Ms Stanko on her design blog Around The House

Until we meet again (we have a few more great homes in Fullerton to visit before we head down to the gardens featured by the Rose Society of Saddleback Mountain) 

Thank you for all you do to make the world more beautiful. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

2013 Fullerton Beautiful's Open Garden Tour ~ Part 2

There is a special state where worries are flushed away by the shear beauty of lush tropical plantings fill the air with color. 

In the corner of the state is a waterfall that fills a pone where a family of growing koi  lap in lazy loops around the dozens of aquatic plants the Knigge's have collected. 

This is not just a state of beauty; a reminder of the homeowner's vacation on a peaceful Central Java Island, the beauty begets practical benefits.

The nutrient rich water feeds the plants with all the trace nutrients that are needed to maintain their health and vigor.  

On the patio table is the picture of the swimming pool  that was walked around far more than it was swum in when its age was going to require major modifications.  A detailed list of visiting birds.

With a love a nature and a desire for a retreat from city life, Larry and his wife decided on a design which is an homage to her Indonesian heritage.

 They named the garden Balifornia- for the Bali Hai state of mind crafted in the heart of Southern California suburbia.

From a lounge built for two the couple counts the birds- and their own happiness.

Bending indoor and outdoor living in our moderate climate allows Southern Californians to bring furniture and decorative touches most of the world can only dream of.

Design Notes: Tropical plants are compatible compadres. Lushness does not require fence to wall greenery. It requires healthy specimens and the recognition that unless you are going for the look of a sand dune- nature abhors a vacuum. Mulch  not only conserves water- it conserves energy by keeping down weeds.

We have a few more gardens to gander.  I thank you for your patience in all this- in every way, this is the busiest time of the year in the life of gardener and garden communicators- of which I am both. 

Until next time- thank you for all YOU do to make the world more beautiful.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2013 Fullerton Beautiful's Open Gardens Tours - Part 1

There are cities where the residents come to gardening easily. Fullerton is such a city.  This past April 28th,  the  2013 Fullerton Beautiful Committee presented the gardens of 7 special homeowners brave enough to open their garden gates wide to the curious public.
Let the taste of two gardens whet your appetite for more.

 Robert and Jan's garden did what all gardens do. Told a story of what the homeowners value. 

 With seating arrangements from the front courtyard, on the patio and tucked about the garden, these are hospitable people who care for the comfort of their guests.


They are the creative sort. Look closely at the stacked pots of herbs. With pockets larger than a standard strawberry jar- the potential for abundance is multiplied without requiring a larger footprint.

Everywhere, the garden is filled with vignettes. The crystal water droplet falling from the spigot teased smiles a little brighter on the faces of those strolling through. 

This mosaic sphere was created by the homeowner- in a former life as a bowling ball, it certainly wasn't so visually alluring.

This image is a lesson in why function should marry form.  It not only shows pride, it makes chores so much more enjoyable.

More people should do what this homeowner created- a seating area where you can argue the virtues of looking at versus looking from.

Why shouldn't the fences of a garden be used to hang art and mirrors in the garden?  If I were to pick a word to describe this garden's style, it would be charming.

The homeowners think of themselves as novice gardeners, but they underestimate their talent. Fine gardening is not limited to those who can spout words in Latin and display plants with price tags the value of a car. Fine gardening achieves a goal. This garden, with the fountains scattered about, artful arrangement of seating is a garden that encourages neighborly visits. If I were a plant and could choose where to live- I would be happy to be adopted and raised in this place. For this is an exceedingly happy garden.

 Many thanks to my companion for the day. Nikkipolani is one of my favorite bloggers. While she isn't a photographer by trade- she could be.  She has some wonderful pictures of the tour here.

Look on her site for the magnificent kitchen in Nikki's photos of the next garden, the Engineered Garden.

With views from the deck of the 29 palms (plants, not the city) this three story garden has elements reminiscent of the Robinson Estate and Gardens in Beverly Hills. Including some rather serious steps  where one could climb down to visit the roots of the crowns which tower above.

What was absolutely fascinating is what Nancy, the homeowner, shared about the annual trimming of the palm trees.  Once the trimmer rises to the top, he zip lines from tree to tree, not returning to the ground until the last tree is groomed. This is the garden of a homeowner committed to her responsibility to the environment.

Which leaves us with 5 more gardens to show us the special stories of their owners.

Until next time- thank you for all you do to make the world more beautiful.